Strawberry and chamomile tarts

Strawberry and chamomile tarts

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Makes
10 small tarts
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

The subtle flavour of the chamomile really adds balance and depth of flavour to this tart. You could also use elderflower, lemon myrtle or lemon verbena for an equally delicious result.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity see method for ingredients
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon raw (demerara) sugar

Strawberry Glaze

Quantity Ingredient
250g strawberries
10ml water
15g sugar
3g pectin

Chamomile cream

Quantity Ingredient
220g full-cream (whole) milk
10g dried chamomile flowers
1 gold gelatine leaf
4 egg yolks
40g sugar
15g cornflour (cornstarch)
15g cocoa butter
45g crème fraîche
75g butter, softened, in 1 cm dice

Assembly

Quantity Ingredient
2 punnets strawberries

Method

  1. On a lightly floured bench, roll the pastry out into a large disc, 7 mm (¼ in) thick, then freeze it for 1 hour so that it sets hard.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Remove the pastry from the freezer and use the pastry rings to cut out discs. Leave the rings on the discs and place them on a tray lined with baking paper, leaving space between them so they bake through evenly. Brush some egg over the top of each disc, then sprinkle with raw sugar.
  3. Bake the discs for 15–17 minutes, until golden. As soon as they’re out of the oven, remove the rings so they don’t stick (use a tea towel so you don’t burn your hands). Set the discs aside to cool.
  4. For the strawberry glaze, hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Place the berries in a metal mixing bowl that fits over a saucepan like a double boiler, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Half fill the saucepan with water, ensuring that the water won’t touch the bowl, then place it on the stove on a low heat.
  5. Without removing the plastic wrap, sit the bowl of strawberries over the pan and leave to cook for 2 hours, until the berries produce a clear red juice (check the water in the saucepan occasionally to ensure it doesn’t boil dry). Strain the juice through a sieve and discard any remaining strawberries (or set aside for a later use).
  6. Weigh 150 g (5½ oz) of the juice into a small saucepan. Mix the sugar and pectin together, then sprinkle the mixture into the juice, whisking until it dissolves. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer for 3–5 minutes to activate the pectin. The glaze should be shiny and have a thicker consistency. Pour it into a container and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the tarts.
  7. To make the chamomile cream, first make an infusion by combining the milk and chamomile in a saucepan and bringing to a simmer over a medium heat. Set aside for 15 minutes, then strain the infusion through a fine sieve. Use a spoon to squeeze as much of the milk as possible out of the chamomile, then weigh 180 g (61/2 oz)of the infused milk into a small saucepan and set aside. Discard the rest of the infused milk.
  8. Soak the gelatine leaf in water, and set aside for 5 minutes, to soften. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium sized bowl, then add the cornflour and whisk again until combined.
  9. Return the infused milk to the heat and bring to a simmer, then pour it over the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Return the mixture to the saucepan over a medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes thick and just starts to bubble. Remove it from the heat immediately and pour into a tall measuring jug.
  10. While the mixture is still hot, add the cocoa butter and use a stick blender to emulsify. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaf, then add to the mixture and blend again. Add the crème fraîche and blend again. Add the butter, one piece at a time, blending to emulsify after each addition.
  11. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming, and leave to cool in the fridge for 1½–2 hours, until set.
  12. Hull the remaining two punnets of strawberries and slice them 2 mm (1⁄10 in) thick, horizontally. Place them in a large mixing bowl along with 2 tablespoons of the glaze, and gently turn the strawberries until they are coated (add more glaze if needed).
  13. To assemble your tarts, lay out your pastry discs on the bench and put the chamomile cream into a piping (icing) bag. Pipe a thick layer of chamomile cream onto the centre of each disc, leaving a 1 cm (½ in) rim at the edges. Fan the strawberries over the top of the cream, layering them until the pastry base is completely covered and you have a small strawberry mound. Transfer the tarts to serving plates and serve.

Bakery Notes

  • For the strawberry glaze, the pectin and sugar are measured as a percentage of the juice you get out of your strawberries. This will vary depending on the quality and water content of the berries. The pectin should be 2% and the sugar 10% of the eventual weight of the juice.

    You can keep any left-over strawberry pulp and freeze it to use in a later batch of jam or smoothies, or spoon it over your breakfast.

    You will need metal pastry rings that will cut through hard pastry. We use 8 cm (3¼ in) rings, though you can use any size you like.

    When making the chamomile cream, I use a stick blender to achieve a smooth velvety texture with no aeration. You can whisk the ingredients in one by one at the end, but you will need to strain the cream afterwards to achieve the desired texture.
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